How could Paul afford his extensive travels?

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Ulan
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Re: How could Paul afford his extensive travels?

Post by Ulan » Sat Oct 13, 2018 10:21 am

I thought he was collecting money for "the poor". If you don't have any money, you qualify.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eDTjXAz_XKA

I imagine he was doing performances.

robert j
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Re: How could Paul afford his extensive travels?

Post by robert j » Sat Oct 13, 2018 11:18 am

Since others have offered their own opinions on Paul and his letters --- I just want to add my 2 cents here.

To the question posed in this thread. Every one of Paul’s five letters contain a plea for money, though the Philippians seem to be Paul’s primary source of income. Paul’s letters can be seen, at least to some extent, as donor letters. But sure, preachers have to eat.

Beyond that, I continue to read and study Paul’s 5 letters with a skeptical eye. But I continue to see a consistent personality --- a flawed man, warts and all.

And I continue to find just the kind of inconsistencies that one might expect to find in occasional letters from an opportunistic, entrepreneurial evangelist seeking patrons and promoting a new spiritual system to a few different groups --- groups widely spread around the fringe of the Aegean Sea and each with distinct cultural and economic “personalities” and issues of internal concern.

And I continue to find inter-relationships between the letters. And --- especially in the Corinthian correspondence with its several letters over a period of time --- there are several ongoing issues and personal dramas playing out (though some are partially obscured by the composite nature of 2 Corinthians).

Is it possible the letters were later inventions, or the result of multiple hands reworking them over time? Sure, most anything is possible in a quantum universe. But I find it unlikely for an author of such religious tracts to be so skilled as to create out of whole cloth the aspects of the letters that I describe above. And I find it equally improbable for the aspects described above to survive multiple re-workings.

Certainly those 5 letters are not pristine and contain a few interpolations as well as scribal glosses, scribal errors, and instances of scribal initiative. But I think the letters have come down to us remarkably intact. I suspect the letters, and follow-up efforts, had spread around just enough in relative obscurity for decades until the Marcionites claimed the letters for their own and forced the proto-orthodox to do the same. But the letters were spread around just enough in the eastern Mediterranean such that any extensive editing would have alienated the very groups the proto-orthodox might hope to win over. Hence, the production of the Acts of the Apostles to bring Paul into the proto-orthodox fold, and apologetic passages like 2 Peter 3:15-16.

I think those 5 letters of Paul provide the solution to the very origin of Christianity --- a solution without an historical Jesus. In my opinion, to reject Paul and his letters is to shunt aside all possibility of recovering the origin of faith in a Jesus Christ --- and to get hopelessly lost in the subsequent cacophony of later story-telling, legend-building, defending of tradition, apologetics and polemics.

(The 5 letters most important for understanding Paul --- 1 Thessalonians, Galatians, 1 and 2 Corinthians, and Philippians)
Last edited by robert j on Sun Oct 14, 2018 3:15 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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DCHindley
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Re: How could Paul afford his extensive travels?

Post by DCHindley » Sat Oct 13, 2018 1:17 pm

arnoldo wrote:
Sat Oct 13, 2018 9:21 am
Perhaps a more difficult question is how did Paul have time to allegedly travel extensively from one end of the Roman empire to the other (Perhaps even to Spain). The late Jerome-Murphy O-Conner attempts to provide a time frame how Paul's journey was possible.

https://books.google.com/books?id=aDbaq ... el&f=false

As far as how did Paul pay for his travels see link below;
https://biblehub.com/philippians/4-19.htm
That 1st link really sidestepped the issue of "how did he earn his living?" I'd attribute his initial interest in Rome as hope to use his connections to secure some sort of contract to maintain the awnings and rigging at the Coliseum, or sails for the grain fleet operating between Italy and Alexandria. Nowhere do his letters or Acts say anything about any travel to Egypt. This would open up a great opportunity for Paul and presumably his family, however much of one he had.

When He speaks of going to Spain, I'm thinking that he was convinced that his death sentence by the Judean court in Jerusalem would be upheld, the best he could expect was exile (his Roman citizenship, if he had it, would probably shield him from direct execution), far from areas that were heavily populated by Judeans, hence Hispania. The evidence for Jews active in Iberia/Hispania before the rebellion and conquest of Jerusalem in 70 CE is scant, but there did appear to be trade ties (at least for wine).

That second link does not seem to address his means of support, other than to talk generally about how "God supplies abundantly."

Was there some particular commentary I was supposed to look at? I did not see anything jump out at me.

Back in my chamber of copied books is a Master's Thesis (in biblical studies) from around 1900 in which the "Economics" of the period was "explained" by citing bible passages from the OT & NT. Basically, it was useless.

I do have several more modern books (real ones) that examine the money system and the banking sector of the day, but I'd have to get out the Mini-Excavator to dig down to it in the collapsed bookshelves (this is an overstatement for "get off my ass and look for it" on the couch where I threw them).

:o DCH

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arnoldo
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Re: How could Paul afford his extensive travels?

Post by arnoldo » Sat Oct 13, 2018 6:53 pm

Travel by ship was probably more expensive than travel by foot. Although traveling by land was slower it perhaps had the advantage of allowing someone to gain income along the way via donations/work. The following chart attempts to calculate the cost of travel via ship and although it is expensive, it's not out of the realm of possibility.
Paul's travels.PNG
Paul's travels.PNG (5.22 KiB) Viewed 3319 times
https://www.openbible.info/blog/2012/07 ... -journeys/

Charles Wilson
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Re: How could Paul afford his extensive travels?

Post by Charles Wilson » Sat Oct 13, 2018 10:18 pm

If, however, "Paul" was a character built around some historical figure, say, Mucianus, Procurator of Syria then we might be able to see if there was a source of money from somewhere "outside" the Story LIne:

https://www.ourcivilisation.com/smartbo ... /chap8.htm :

"So the eastern provinces now hummed with the preparation of ships, armies and equipment. The most exhausting imposition, however, was the financial levy. According to Mucianus, money was the sinews of civil war, and in his assessments he had eyes only for the depths of a man's purse, not for equity or truth. On every side accusers came forward, and the richer classes were plundered unmercifully. These grievous and intolerable burdens might be defended on the ground of military exigency, but they continued to be imposed even when peace came.."

We might even find some composite material - Polybius, Histories, http://penelope.uchicago.edu/Thayer/E/R ... us/1*.html :

"Their successors, Gnaeus Servilius and Gaius Sempronius, put to sea with their whole fleet as soon as it was summer and after crossing to Sicily proceeded thence to Libya, and sailing along the coast, made a number of descents in which they accomplished nothing of importance, and finally reached the isle of the Lotus-eaters, which is called Meninx and is not far distant from the lesser Syrtis. Here, owing to their ignorance of these seas, they ran on to some shoals, and, on the tide retreating and the ships grounding fast, they were in a most difficult position. However, as the tide unexpectedly rose again after some time, they managed with difficulty to lighten their ships by throwing overboard all heavy objects..."

Which, of course, we have seen before:

Acts 27: 14 - 20 (RSV):

[14] But soon a tempestuous wind, called the northeaster, struck down from the land;
[15] and when the ship was caught and could not face the wind, we gave way to it and were driven.
[16] And running under the lee of a small island called Cauda, we managed with difficulty to secure the boat;
[17-A] after hoisting it up, they took measures to undergird the ship; then,
...
[17-B] fearing that they should run on the Syr'tis, they lowered the gear, and so were driven.
[18] As we were violently storm-tossed, they began next day to throw the cargo overboard;
[19] and the third day they cast out with their own hands the tackle of the ship.
[20] And when neither sun nor stars appeared for many a day, and no small tempest lay on us, all hope of our being saved was at last abandoned.

Verse 17 is split because there are 2 stories spliced together here:

Tacitus, Histories, Book 3:

"Anicetus also set fire to the fleet, and, as the sea was not guarded, escaped, for Mucianus had brought up to Byzantium the best of the Liburnian ships and all the troops. The barbarians even insolently scoured the sea in hastily constructed vessels of their own called "camarae," built with narrow sides and broad bottoms, and joined together without fastenings of brass or iron. Whenever the water is rough they raise the bulwarks with additional planks according to the increasing height of the waves, till the vessel is covered in like a house. Thus they roll about amid the billows, and, as they have a prow at both extremities alike and a convertible arrangement of oars, they may be paddled in one direction or another indifferently and without risk..."

The Moffatt Translation has a wonderful note - https://archive.org/details/newtestamen ... f/page/182 - on p. 183 that verse 17, quoted above, tells that "...once it was hoisted aboard, they used ropes to undergird the ship...".

"Paul" is a Construction. Acts is built around the Twelfth Legion and Mucianus. There is no Mystery here. The "World Traveler" Mucianus obtained "money for his travels" by ruthless taxation to make an End Run from The Pontus to attack Vitellius at Rome. After he leaves, Anicetus assembles some Low-Lifes and Ex-Soldiers to Plunder The Pontus. The "Camarae" boats, held together by ropes, are found throughout Acts. explaining the last 2 chapters of Acts as well.

"The Queen's Eunuch", Acts 8: 28 - 40 is the Story of Anicetus, found in Tacitus, Histories, Book 3. Remember the verses?

[32] Now the passage of the scripture which he was reading was this: "As a sheep led to the slaughter
or a lamb before its shearer is dumb,
so he opens not his mouth.
[33] In his humiliation justice was denied him.
Who can describe his generation?
For his life is taken up from the earth."

You think this is about "Jesus". It's not. Anicetus is about to be Double-Crossed and gutted. So it goes. The "Refugees" at the end of Acts come from the rewrite of this section of Tacitus, at the inlet of the Cohibus River. The shipwreck, down to the "Planks", are descriptions of the Camarae boats.

No Mystery at all.

CW
Last edited by Charles Wilson on Sat Oct 13, 2018 10:47 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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DCHindley
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Re: How could Paul afford his extensive travels?

Post by DCHindley » Sat Oct 13, 2018 10:42 pm

arnoldo wrote:
Sat Oct 13, 2018 6:53 pm
Travel by ship was probably more expensive than travel by foot. Although traveling by land was slower it perhaps had the advantage of allowing someone to gain income along the way via donations/work. The following chart attempts to calculate the cost of travel via ship and although it is expensive, it's not out of the realm of possibility.
Paul's travels.PNG
https://www.openbible.info/blog/2012/07 ... -journeys/
I remember the cost of travel being discussed some while ago. What put me off about it was the use of the wildly skewed "controlled prices" of Diocletian (about 301 CE) for relative values (because the inflation rate skyrocketed around 280 CE), but projected back to the mid 1st century by pegging these relative values to a few known key commodity prices (wheat, mainly).

One can see something similar in John Reed's account of the Russian Revolution in Ten Days that Shook the World, which contains a number of similar lists of prices current in St Petersburg, and other countries. However, Russia was only partly industrialized, when compared to Britain, France and the US, so these relative prices are not going to correlate well.

The problem with this approach is that those key commodities had different prices in different parts of the empire. We also have a very vague idea of what prices were relative to one another in the 1st century CE, when compared to Diocletian's very long list (over 1,000 items, including prices for food, workers pay, etc.). I thought the author's approach seemed too simplistic. So I bought all sorts of books to see if I could come up with a more realistic chart, but got buried in all the detail and kind of moved it to the back burner.

Ancient economies were all local ones centered around cities, colonies or large towns, and only loosely connected to one another. There was no such thing as macroeconomics in 1st century Roman empire. However, I'd be willing to return to the task if anyone is serious to see what things likely "cost" then.

Even so, I don't think that cost alone was prohibitive to business. People continued to engage in trade in luxury goods, take jobs for salaries, sell commodities, contract to provide services or construction, regardless of cost. In business, these are called "the cost of doing business" and are factored into the prices they in turn charge their customers.

But it does make me ask "How did Paul pay his bills?" My guess is he had a patron finance his contracts at a fixed amount and Paul did what he could to fulfill it while still leaving a reasonable profit. Many US businesses don't make any real profit at all, at least on tax filings (I see them), but the owners may be compensated very well nonetheless.

DCH

Ulan
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Re: How could Paul afford his extensive travels?

Post by Ulan » Sun Oct 14, 2018 12:27 am

I get the impression that Paul's tent making business was more something he fell back on when the other sources of income dried up. While he dresses these activities in words of leading by example, the passages read more like complaints. He seemed to attach himself to wealthy households everywhere he went (except Athens), and wealthy households were often enough businesses themselves. If the owners provided shelter and food, that cuts expenses. They seem to have also given him some of their own servants to use for his own goals. From here, one might speculate that the employer-employee relation may have been inverted from what the letters tell us. There's the possibility that Paul's travel destinations were less determined by "the Spirit" but by where the business interests of his patrons sent him. The proselytizing would become a side show of the business trips, but of course feature prominently in the letters. The travels would be covered by the patrons in that case.

Anyway, this is just speculation.

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Re: How could Paul afford his extensive travels?

Post by gmx » Sun Oct 14, 2018 4:07 am

Doesn't the didache warn communities about false itinerant preachers exploiting Christian generosity? Doesn't that suggest that genuine preachers like Paul could expect the full support of fledgling Christian communities to support their missionary activities?
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Ulan
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Re: How could Paul afford his extensive travels?

Post by Ulan » Sun Oct 14, 2018 4:39 am

gmx wrote:
Sun Oct 14, 2018 4:07 am
Doesn't the didache warn communities about false itinerant preachers exploiting Christian generosity? Doesn't that suggest that genuine preachers like Paul could expect the full support of fledgling Christian communities to support their missionary activities?
I actually considered mentioning the Didache in my last post, so I guess that's a Yes. I don't think they paid for travel expenses though.

hakeem
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Re: How could Paul afford his extensive travels?

Post by hakeem » Sun Oct 14, 2018 8:03 am

Charles Wilson wrote:
Sat Oct 13, 2018 10:18 pm
If, however, "Paul" was a character built around some historical figure, say, Mucianus, Procurator of Syria then we might be able to see if there was a source of money from somewhere "outside" the Story LIne:

https://www.ourcivilisation.com/smartbo ... /chap8.htm :

"So the eastern provinces now hummed with the preparation of ships, armies and equipment. The most exhausting imposition, however, was the financial levy. According to Mucianus, money was the sinews of civil war, and in his assessments he had eyes only for the depths of a man's purse, not for equity or truth. On every side accusers came forward, and the richer classes were plundered unmercifully. These grievous and intolerable burdens might be defended on the ground of military exigency, but they continued to be imposed even when peace came.."

We might even find some composite material - Polybius, Histories, http://penelope.uchicago.edu/Thayer/E/R ... us/1*.html :

"Their successors, Gnaeus Servilius and Gaius Sempronius, put to sea with their whole fleet as soon as it was summer and after crossing to Sicily proceeded thence to Libya, and sailing along the coast, made a number of descents in which they accomplished nothing of importance, and finally reached the isle of the Lotus-eaters, which is called Meninx and is not far distant from the lesser Syrtis. Here, owing to their ignorance of these seas, they ran on to some shoals, and, on the tide retreating and the ships grounding fast, they were in a most difficult position. However, as the tide unexpectedly rose again after some time, they managed with difficulty to lighten their ships by throwing overboard all heavy objects..."

Which, of course, we have seen before:

Acts 27: 14 - 20 (RSV):

[14] But soon a tempestuous wind, called the northeaster, struck down from the land;
[15] and when the ship was caught and could not face the wind, we gave way to it and were driven.
[16] And running under the lee of a small island called Cauda, we managed with difficulty to secure the boat;
[17-A] after hoisting it up, they took measures to undergird the ship; then,
...
[17-B] fearing that they should run on the Syr'tis, they lowered the gear, and so were driven.
[18] As we were violently storm-tossed, they began next day to throw the cargo overboard;
[19] and the third day they cast out with their own hands the tackle of the ship.
[20] And when neither sun nor stars appeared for many a day, and no small tempest lay on us, all hope of our being saved was at last abandoned.

Verse 17 is split because there are 2 stories spliced together here:

Tacitus, Histories, Book 3:

"Anicetus also set fire to the fleet, and, as the sea was not guarded, escaped, for Mucianus had brought up to Byzantium the best of the Liburnian ships and all the troops. The barbarians even insolently scoured the sea in hastily constructed vessels of their own called "camarae," built with narrow sides and broad bottoms, and joined together without fastenings of brass or iron. Whenever the water is rough they raise the bulwarks with additional planks according to the increasing height of the waves, till the vessel is covered in like a house. Thus they roll about amid the billows, and, as they have a prow at both extremities alike and a convertible arrangement of oars, they may be paddled in one direction or another indifferently and without risk..."

The Moffatt Translation has a wonderful note - https://archive.org/details/newtestamen ... f/page/182 - on p. 183 that verse 17, quoted above, tells that "...once it was hoisted aboard, they used ropes to undergird the ship...".

"Paul" is a Construction. Acts is built around the Twelfth Legion and Mucianus. There is no Mystery here. The "World Traveler" Mucianus obtained "money for his travels" by ruthless taxation to make an End Run from The Pontus to attack Vitellius at Rome. After he leaves, Anicetus assembles some Low-Lifes and Ex-Soldiers to Plunder The Pontus. The "Camarae" boats, held together by ropes, are found throughout Acts. explaining the last 2 chapters of Acts as well.

"The Queen's Eunuch", Acts 8: 28 - 40 is the Story of Anicetus, found in Tacitus, Histories, Book 3. Remember the verses?

[32] Now the passage of the scripture which he was reading was this: "As a sheep led to the slaughter
or a lamb before its shearer is dumb,
so he opens not his mouth.
[33] In his humiliation justice was denied him.
Who can describe his generation?
For his life is taken up from the earth."

You think this is about "Jesus". It's not. Anicetus is about to be Double-Crossed and gutted. So it goes. The "Refugees" at the end of Acts come from the rewrite of this section of Tacitus, at the inlet of the Cohibus River. The shipwreck, down to the "Planks", are descriptions of the Camarae boats.

No Mystery at all.

CW
In effect, it would appear it was not Paul who was a traveler but the very author of Acts who went from book to book to invent the traveling episodes.

In Acts, it is claimed Paul traveled from Jerusalem to Rome in the time of Felix c 64 CE and was shipwrecked during the voyage.

in the Life a similar event happened to Josephus when he traveled to Rome in the time of Felix .

http://sacred-texts.com/jud/josephus/autobiog.htm
3. But when I was in the twenty-sixth year of my age, it happened that I took a voyage to Rome, and this on the occasion which I shall now describe. At the time when Felix was procurator of Judea there were certain priests of my acquaintance, and very excellent persons they were, whom on a small and trifling occasion he had put into bonds, and sent to Rome to plead their cause before Caesar.

These I was desirous to procure deliverance for, and that especially because I was informed that they were not unmindful of piety towards God, even under their afflictions, but supported themselves with figs and nuts.

(4) Accordingly I came to Rome, though it were through a great number of hazards by sea; for as our ship was drowned in the Adriatic Sea, we that were in it, being about six hundred in number, (5) swam for our lives all the night; when, upon the first appearance of the day, and upon our sight of a ship of Cyrene, I and some others, eighty in all, by God's providence, prevented the rest, and were taken up into the other ship....

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